Meet Qais Khan
Qais is 24 years old and is a recent Furniture and Product Design graduate, a public speaker, and a disability rights advocate. We met Qais in 2018 at an Usher syndrome research conference in Mainz, Germany. Qais has traveled around the world to learn more about Usher syndrome, as well as to speak on topics that range from his struggle with deafness and Usher syndrome to building self-confidence, mental health, education, and making friends. Read his full story below.
"I was born profoundly deaf into a hearing family, I first switched on my cochlear implant at the age of three. Through my childhood, my family and I learned a lot about how to live with my deafness, but when I turned 16, my world was turned upside down. I was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome and discovered I have an eye disorder called Retina Pigmentosa which causes night blindness.
Being deaf, and suffering from Usher Syndrome has brought many challenges and barriers in my life. During secondary school and college, I struggled with my mental health. I had very low self-esteem, no confidence, lack of communication skills and no true friends. As a result of my disability, I felt that many teachers and professionals thought I would not do well in my exams or be able to go to university to pursue my chosen career. However, I passed my exams with good grades, went to college and successfully graduated with a degree. I am proud to say, that with the support and encouragement of my parents, charities and professionals experienced in working with deaf people, I have managed to prove them wrong! Despite all the obstacles I faced in my life, I overcame them and allowed myself to show people that anyone with disabilities can achieve their dreams. I persevered and gave my very best, day in, day out, to show people that disabilities do not define an individual.
I have been fortunate enough to travel across Europe, sharing my personal experiences with young people, families and organizations.
It is my mission, to inspire and make a positive difference to those who face challenges in their everyday lives. I wish to raise awareness about Usher Syndrome so that more people can become aware of this condition. My goal is to empower anyone with a disability to have the confidence to stand up, be themselves and embrace challenges."